A big part of recovery is letting go of old, false, faulty, painful, limiting beliefs, so let's look at them.
"Fit people DO pay attention to quantity and quality of food. I still think the people I know who stay thin and lean watch how many carbs they consume or choose to eat bunless burgers or opt for larger portions of veggies."
And a critical part of that paying attention (awareness, mindfulness, self-care) is eating ENOUGH. Lean people don't need to lose any fat. Lean people can't afford a chronic deficit. They can't and shouldn't eat for fat loss forever. If I were to eat for fat loss every day, and worry about buns, and fuss over carb grams, and eat vegetables when I wanted fried potatoes, I would be face down in pie so fast! For me, staying lean hinges on eating ENOUGH, on not dieting, on not restricting. Undereating is how I wrecked myself. I will never do it again. Meeting my energy needs is critical for both leanness and health. I have no problem eating 2,000-3,000+ calories every day. I need that apparently, because I eat it and I'm healthy and fit and my weight is stable. Do you know when my weight was unstable, my mind was a trainwreck, and I kept getting bigger every year? When I tried to eat like fitness people on the internet. Many of them omit critical pieces of info, like binging out of control when they slip off their perfect oatmeal, kale, and berries plan. Like running 10 miles as payback. Like gaining 15 pounds in a weekend after the contest and photo shoot are over. Like hating themselves and feeling like frauds. And we're supposed to model our eating off of their heavily curated highlight reel? Remember the post from the healthy living blogger who came clean and explained what was really going on in each of her posts? You can't know the whole story so comparison is futile.
"If it's going to take me 4 slices of pizza to feel satisfied or an entire burger and a plate of fries to do the same thing I also have to accept that I can't expect to stay lean that way."
If the person eating french fries and pizza is meeting their energy needs and the person eating the low-carb rabbit lettuce is exceeding theirs and/or binging every time their willpower cracks, guess who will be leaner? If you guessed the pizza eater, you are correct! While there are certainly mood and health benefits to being mindful of nutrition, the energy equation trumps clean eating. You can become anorexic eating nothing but Doritos and powdered sugar donuts (I actually did that), or you can gain 20 pounds on chicken, veggies, oatmeal, and protein powder (been there done that too).
It's also critical to look at the big picture of food intake over weeks and months. Being hungry for a big greasy meal today doesn't mean that's how you'll eat from now on. A bigger meal now generally means being less hungry later. A rich, fatty meal now means more interest in light fruity meals in the near future. If we pay attention to what will feel good, our body tends to balance things out quite nicely.